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AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT vs Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090: Which Graphic Card is Better?

by  Jone -  Last updated on August 26, 2022
RX 6900 XT Vs. RTX 3090

The world of graphics cards has evolved recently. It is always evolving, but evolution itself is curious. Most of the time it takes place over a huge number of years, requiring multiple generations for there to be any advancement. And other times there are great leaps which upset the entire natural order. This is where the RX 6900 XT and RTX 3090 find themselves.

But Which Is Better? You Can Only Get One, After All. Which Great Leap Forward Is Greater?

RX 6900 XT Vs. RTX 3090 At a Glance

RX 6900 XT Advantages:

  • Wide memory bus
  • Above-average shader cores
  • Easily renders 4K with no slowdown

RX 6900 XT Disadvantages:

  • Ray tracing accuracy is imperfect
  • Only slightly better than its predecessor
  • High price

RTX 3090 Advantages:

  • Operates quietly
  • Great value for professionals and gamers alike
  • Surprisingly low heat by default

RTX 3090 Disadvantages:

  • Takes up three slots
  • Overclocking is easy, but the heat increases quickly
  • Again, not amazingly better than the 3080 that came before it

Winner: Don’t want to read the full article? The editor’s choice is the RTX 3090.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 Founders Edition Graphics Card

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What Is the Difference Between Them?

Geforce RTX

Cost

When you compare the cost of two graphics cards, you are really comparing measurements of value. How much value are you getting in the speed, accuracy, and efficiency of the rendering? And how much does it cost you to get that value?

It should be noted that due to the low supply and high demand for graphics cards, the exact price of each graphics card depends on the merchant. Betting on eBay, both of these will cost roughly the same (and usually be massively overpriced). We are judging by their MSRP.

Naturally, speed is measured by how long it takes for the graphics card to render images. Accuracy is how often those renderings produce errors, and efficiency is how much power the card draws and how much heat it produces, as well as the memory it requires.

On almost every metric, the RTX 3090 wins… But just barely. While the RX 6900 XT is slightly slower, less accurate, and less efficient, it is half the price of the RTX 3090.

Verdict: The RX 6900 XT wins due to being nearly as good as the RTX 3090 while coming in at half the price.

AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT

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Lighting

In this day and age, lighting is one of the most important features in any graphical scheme. Dynamic and responsive lighting can turn any game into a moody and immersive experience, even if the 3D models that populate it and the textures that detail it are not up to par.

The RTX 3090 handles lighting better in just about every way. Its ambient occlusion is higher resolution, its shaders have a higher dynamic range, and perhaps most importantly, all of this loads faster. It’s not as if the RX 6900 XT is bad at these things. The RTX 3090 is just better.

Verdict: The RTX 3090 is superior. While it’s not exactly close, the competition is still strong.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 Founders Edition Graphics Card

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Reflections

While lighting can be used to enhance the art style of a game, reflections are almost solely the domain of photorealism. And that makes them a risky proposition: A reflection that is low resolution, low framerate, or visibly dishonest to its surroundings will be noticeable immediately.

This is easily the element where the RTX 3090 is the most noticeably better. By a lot of metrics, the RTX 3090 is only marginally better than the competition. In this case, however, it renders reflections faster and more accurately than anything else by a wide margin.

Verdict: The RTX 3090 wins, with the RX 6900 XT lagging behind in this department.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 Founders Edition Graphics Card

Buy on Amazon

Textures

Textures are not actually handled by graphics cards by default. Most games will send texture mapping to the RAM, with the graphics card serving as a supporting processer for their load times and accuracy.

However, there are a few ways that graphics cards can interact with textures that can put a graphics card ahead of its competition in terms of its features.

The most important one is easily file editing. You can easily edit the configuration files of most games, especially newer Unreal Engine and Unity games, so that their textures are processed by the graphics card instead of the RAM. And as this becomes more common, graphics cards build in more capacity for exactly this kind of texture offloading.

Verdict: The RTX 3090 has much better texture offloading capabilities than the RX 6900 XT. It is not a night and day difference, but there will be texture pop-in with more complex renders on the RX 6900 XT, while there will be virtually none with the RTX 3090.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 Founders Edition Graphics Card

Buy on Amazon

Physics Simulation

Physics Simulation of a Graphic Card

One of the most interesting things about evaluating physics simulation in graphics cards is that you are rarely trying to find the upper limit of a graphics card’s physics simulation abilities. Nine times out of ten, a game will not push your graphics card to the limit.

Therefore, what we are really measuring here is how consistently the graphics card can render simulated physics. After all, the whole reason that you don’t see physics pushed to its limit all that frequently is because physics simulation has high demands while being relatively common.

It is worth mentioning here that while the RTX 3090 wins again, it is much closer than it was with reflections. The RX 6900 XT is just as free of physics glitches and crashes, there is basically no slowdown unless you are actively trying to cause slowdown, and stutter and errant movement are kept to a minimum. The RTX 3090 gets the win for being a little faster overall.

Verdict: The RTX 3090 wins for being more consistently faster.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 Founders Edition Graphics Card

Buy on Amazon

Multitasking

Not everyone is getting a high-end graphics card to play games. For some people, graphics cards like these are the only way their computer can handle the workload they need.

Anyone who has worked in game development, video editing, or advanced photography will know of this need. If you are sculpting in zBrush, exporting normal maps from 3DS Max, and editing textures in Photoshop, then your computer needs a lot of graphical power to juggle those tasks. So, which of these graphics cards can handle multiple tasks the best?

Verdict: The RX 6900 XT wins this one for sure. The gap between multitasking capabilities is surprisingly large, and while the RTX 3090 can do plenty, it slows down under the strain of things like Blender and Maya.

AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT

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Overclocking Potential

Anyone who has spent enough time in the world of PC gaming (and custom-built PCs in general) will view their graphics cards in two ways.

The first is judging them by their normal capabilities like we just did, going feature by feature one at a time. But the second way they view graphics cards is by judging them based on how they perform while overclocked.

Overclocking is the process of pushing the amount of power that the graphics card draws. The more power it draws, the faster and more effective it operates.

There are obvious drawbacks, though. Some graphics cards will wear out faster under the strain of overclocking. Others might overheat without warning, sometimes even damaging the computer parts around them.

We mentioned earlier how the RTX 3090 uses less heat than the RX 6900 XT. And this is true. However, the RTX 3090 does not support overclocking as well. It will become even faster in just about every category, but at the cost of a lower lifespan and a risk of overheating.

Verdict: If you want to overclock a graphics card, go with the RX 6900 XT. It can push some of its features into the capacity of the RTX 3090, while at the same time being easier to cool and not affecting its lifespan nearly as much.

AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT

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Niche Graphics Features

Niche Graphics Features

Lighting, reflections, and physics are the core principles of rendering games. But there are a variety of other methods of adding nuance to a game’s graphics. These do not come up as much, but they are all growing in popularity as game development becomes more accessible and designers look for new and interesting ways to layer their renders with detail.

The most surprising thing about these features (including things like parallax rendering and texture splatting) is that the RTX 3090 almost completely ignores them. It is not that it cannot render them. The problem is that it is not designed with them in mind at all.

Verdict: The RX 6900 XT is far and away superior in its ability to handle these graphical niches.

AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT

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Cryptocurrency Mining

We mentioned at the outset that graphics cards are evolving. Well, despite how unhappy it makes some people, one of the biggest evolutions in graphics cards in recent years is how they factor into cryptocurrency mining. But what does it mean to mine cryptocurrency? And what do graphics cards do to help with the process?

Crypto mining is the process of solving mathematical equations. You see, cryptocurrency is reliant on being connected to an online network of applications called “blockchain” applications.

Blockchain applications constantly validate and revalidate who owns and who is transferring ownership of cryptocurrencies, whether those currencies are Bitcoin or Dogecoin.

Crypto mining means that you dedicate a device to help the processing of all of these transactions. In return, the blockchain applications credit you with fractions of whatever currency you are helping calculations for (usually Bitcoin). Graphics cards help with this because they are equipped to do such advanced mathematics for lighting that they are central to the calculations.

Verdict: In terms of raw power, the RTX 3090 consistently outperforms the RX 6900 XT. Crypto mining is an interesting task for a graphics card to take on specifically because it essentially boils down to raw power—it is not hard to do the math of crypto mining. It is a matter of sheer volume. Which graphics card is better essentially comes down to which can do more at a time.

Comparison to Older Models

Nvidia and AMD

It is easy enough to say that you should get one of these graphics cards if you have something like a Lenovo PC, or if your only connection to the internet has ever been a tablet from 2014.

But are either of these graphics cards worth it if you own something from the generation immediately before them? Sure, the RTX 3090 is a huge step forward in terms of power… But if you own an RTX 3080, are you really missing out on much if you don’t get the 3090?

In the case of both the RTX 3090 and the RX 6900 XT, they are both only marginally better than their previous models. However, a comparison between the new generation and the previous generation is not the complete story.

Part of the reason Nvidia and AMD went forward with these releases is because the popularity of the previous generation proved difficult to manage.

Basically, there was such a high demand and low supply of the previous generation that both Nvidia and AMD had to choose between making more of the graphics cards from that generation or going forward with another generation. They chose the latter. So, these graphics cards are not meant to completely replace that previous generation.

Verdict: Both graphics cards are equal in the sense that they are only marginally better than the previous versions of the same line. It is a tie between the RTX 6900 XT and the RTX 3900.

Conclusion

Both of these graphics cards are the complete package. You can use them to support a computer that has high professional demands, supplement a crypto mining package with them, or do what they were built for and play the newest games at the highest graphical settings.

But if we had to choose one, it would be the RTX 3090. It beats the RX 6900 XT in the fundamentals of graphical rendering in games. It runs quieter and at lower temperatures, and even though it is not as good with overclocking or multitasking, it is a better crypto miner.

The Winner: The RTX 3090

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